The Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt in Bavaria will award its Shalom prize to Rev. Shay Cullen, a co-founder of PREDA
-- a nonprofit based in The Philippines that advocates the welfare of children. The Justice and Peace group at the private university has awarded the Shalom prize ever since 1982 in recognition of extraordinary achievements in peace and human rights. The award will be granted to Cullen at a ceremony on May 4 at the university.
Cullen, 73, is a native of Ireland and a Catholic priest of the Columban religious community. He has lived in The Philippines since 1969. He co-founded PREDA in an effort to protect children, especially those who are homeless, marginalized, or caught up in sex trafficking. He has weathered death threats and persecution from government and criminal organizations because of his work.
PREDA has a staff of 54 social workers, educators, therapists, and administrators who defend human rights and work for peace. Preda is active in caring for the rescue of abused children from jails, abusers, and brothels while giving the victims of abuse a safe home. There the child victims of rape, sex trafficking, and homelessness are afforded protection, education, values formation, affirmation, empowerment, healing therapy, and the restoration of their self-esteem.
It is in the belief that many acts of violence, conflict, war, begins with individuals who have been victimized as children, that PREDA assists the victims of violence in words, punishment, rejection, physical or sexua abuse, or who are unwanted. PREDA strives to heal young persons to ally their own urge and tendency towards violence. Later in life, a few may vent their buried anger or misunderstandings or false perceptions of reality on society, family or community. Some can create a cycle of violence designed to overpower others and they express feelings of revenge and vengeance. This is the effect of childhood violence and neglect.
The PREDA healing process utilizes dialogue, positive relationships, and community education through participation. In a news release from the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, PREDA is described as a “community that listens and learns from victims and gives support and encouragement and healing to victims of violence and abuse.”
Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.